Saturday, July 03, 2010

Oil Spill Scenarios

This week NOAA released the results of some modeling (based on historical wind and water currents) that show where the oil is likely to end up. The average of all 500 scenarios looks like this:

Their models show that with some medium-ish probability some of the oil will enter the loop current and head up the east coast. For example, if the oil spill had occurred on April 17, 1997 that would have been the result, as this animation shows. Of course, other scenarios depict different results and NOAA says that currently "the Loop Current does not appear to be a major source of transport of Deepwater Horizon oil to the Florida Straits or Gulf Stream." But of course that could change if the thing keeps gushing.

Anyway, I thought they were interesting, if depressing, results. I also recommend this pretty cool website that lets you visualize the size of the oil spill by moving it to your hometown in Google Maps. Apparently, the oil slick now dwarfs the state of Maryland in size. Totally crazy.

Also, because if you have to cry you might as well also laugh...

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